Passing State Boards' Grades Verify Competency of Nursing Program?

by showbizrn showbizrn Member Educator Nurse

Specializes in Behavioral Health, Show Biz.

i love teaching.

a colleague mentioned the poor grades

that graduates of one of the univeristies (that i teach) reputedly receive.

i made no comment

but i did wonder...

should the competency of an rn school or college of nursing

be mainly based on the passing grades of

the schools' graduates on the rn state boards exam?

i know nln has its standards

but should passing grades on the state boards

be the bottom line?

what do you think?

me?--- i don't know about that?:)


llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

Heavens no! I know a lot of terrible schools with good NCLEX pass rates. There are a lot of ways a school can manipulate that statistic -- and providing a good education is only one of them.

Schools can "teach to the test" and graduate people with no clinical skills what-so-ever. They can flunk out any student who isn't a good test-taker at the last minute. Those are the 2 main ways that bad schools maintain good NCLEX pass rates.

Edited by llg


dorimar, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Education. Has 25 years experience. 635 Posts

It's not just NLN... The state BONs have much control over schools. Specific passing rates are required... In my state, the BON has an "education board" that approves nursing schools and programs (can open and close them). However, those on the "education board" are directors/deans of various nursing programs in the area.... It seems obvious to me that this is a huge conflict of interest....



212 Posts

I agree that a high pass rate does not necessarily mean that a school is good. On the other hand, how much of a favor are we doing students if we are teaching a GREAT nursing curriculum that cannot get graduates a license?

Passing the board exams is a necessary "floor". A school MUST at a MINIMUM get their graduates past the NCLEX.


Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience. 105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

I wholeheartedly agree with llg and the other posters. A high NCLEX score does not necessarily equate to an excellent program. I know of one controversial nursing school in my area that is notorious for failing ~50% of those admitted into their ADN program. But, their NCLEX passing score has consistently been ~100% for years and years. So, we need to not only look at the 1st time NCLEX passing score, but also examine the retention rates of a program to get a more accurate picture.